Google’s Project Wing


Although I don’t really see the attraction of flying a drone model in the sim (despite the obvious irony that we are effectively remote flying in the Sim anyway) there’s been a pretty interesting reveal from Google this week that they have an Amazon like delivery drone program already underway, in fact it’s been in action for two years in Australia. Wonder if this will appear in the virtual aircraft hangars any time soon?

For two years, Google has quietly been developing autonomous flying vehicles that can be used to deliver packages for disaster relief or for commerce purposes, the company revealed Thursday… Prototypes have already been built and tested delivering packages to remote farms in Queensland, Australia. The country was chosen because of its more open rules about drone use, the BBC said. Farmers there received candy bars, dog treats, cattle vaccines, water, and radios.

Airwork Boeing 737-400 freight conversion


As reported on Mike Condon’s blog last week, Airwork have just finished converting one of their 737s from PAX to Freighter config, a couple of nice pics and some background on the blog post. All we need now is for the QWings team to get around to releasing that 737 Class model they’ve been working on…

Following the landing accident of Airwork/Toll Boeing 737-300 freighter ZK-TLC at Honiara on 26 January 2014 and its subsequent scraping the operator delivered ZK-JTQ to Florida for reconfiguration to a freighter and it departed Brisbane for Apia and Kona on 23 March.  It was noted again 17 August (NZ time) in transit at Long Beach, no doubt having arrived from Florida, and continued onto Kona.

Singapore Airlines flying A380 to Auckland


This will be popular with Auckland spotters no doubt :) Singapore are to replace their existing 777 services with A380s from October, joining Emirates on the far west apron…

Singapore Airlines will fly the world’s largest aircraft on the Singapore-Auckland route from late October, it announced today. The 471-seat A380 will be deployed daily on flight SQ285, departing Singapore at 2050hrs and arriving in Auckland at 1145hrs the following day.

see: Yahoo article

RNZAF Texans on their delivery flight


Well they’re on their way. The first two of an eventual fleet of 11 trainer aircraft in the form of T-6 Texans are on their delivery flight to Whenuapai in New Zealand. Pretty exciting times for RNZAF and great fun for kiwi simmers. Time to break out that IRIS Texan model and get virtually airborne. Aviation News have a post this week re the news and route as the machines pass through the UK:

Two Royal New Zealand Air Force T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft arrived at London-Stansted Airport on 2 August 2014 on their delivery flight. Tom Gautier was there for GAR. The first Saturday of August saw the arrival of two of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s brand new training aircraft. The announcement that the RNZAF would buy 11 T-6C variants of the Texan II was made on 27 January 2014, by the Minister of Defence, Dr Jonathan Coleman.

There’s an Air Force PDF publication that makes for interesting reading with an article on the history of the purchase. Check it out over at

“The $154 million package includes ground simulators, classroom and computer-based training packages to complement practical flying experience in turbo-prop T-6C
aircraft. The T-6C has a proven track record in service with other militaries, and meets the NZDF’s performance and safety standards. “The new system is expected to be operational for the first  trainee intake in early 2016. It is estimated it will produce up to 15 graduate pilots and 12 Qualifying Flying Instructors per year over the next 30 years,” Dr Coleman said.

A350 visits Auckland


Plane spotters have really had a good run lately in NZ. Sounds like an excellent turnout to see the lovely looking and briefly visiting A350 which was in Auckland this week. Mike Condon has posted some great shots of the machine on the tarmac and taxiing for departure. Was a 23L lift-off so a little trick to get shots I imagine. On the simming front, has been suspiciously quiet re the A350, there was an early announcement from AFS Designs who are known for models that are on the lesser detail end of the spectrum, surely there’s an announcement from one of the big guys soon?

As “Airbus 305″, F-WWYB lifted off Auckland’s runway 23L at 1658 into a strong (and cold!) southwest breeze for its direct flight to Santiago, Chile following LAN’s Airbus A340 over the same route which had departed around 20 minutes earlier. It was great to see such a large number of aviation enthusiasts braving the elements to catch its departure!

see MRC blog post for more pics

Air New Zealand 787-900 handover ceremony


Quite the hoo hah in Seattle with the formal handover of the brand spanking new 787-900 to Air New Zealand staff. There was even a band on hand to help with the celebrations. Gonna be great to see this machine operating across the Tasman in coming months, I may even have to get p to Auckland to see an arrival some time

Air New Zealand became the first airline to take delivery of the Boeing 787-9 at an event attended by the world’s media in the United States today. More than 1,000 Boeing employees joined the airline’s representatives, VIP guests and media from as far away as New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan to celebrate the handover of the aircraft at the Future of Flight museum near Seattle.

See the press release pics and videos on the AirNZ flying social page

Airbus’ first A320neo reaches completion


Good news for Airbus PR wise (despite the recent A350 cancellations) as the first NEO rolls out the hangar door. Looks like the machine is set to start test flights in September. Air New Zealand recently announced an order for 13 new NEOs which will be serving on trans-Tasman routes so we’ll see them soon enough down-under as well.

The assembly of Airbus’ first A320neo has been completed following painting of the aircraft and the mounting of Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines. MSN6101, which will be the first A320neo to fly, will soon start its ground tests to prepare for first flight

see the Airbus press release

United Island Hopper across the Pacific


Fascinating article on this week about a trans Pacific Ocean route serviced by United (formerly a Continental service) all the way from Los Angeles to Guam via the Marshal Islands and a few other planned and un-planned stop-overs along the way. The entire route spent on 737s with connecting options at the Guam end of things onwards to South East Asia, China and Japan. Sounds like a bit of a marathon but most Simmers I imagine would be happy to endure it in real life. Heck, I think I’ll have a crack at it in the PMDG this weekend :)

How about flying on a 737-800 across the Pacific Ocean, westward from Honolulu to the tiny spits of sand which make up the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. It is a 15ish hour travel day which could be completed in 7 on the nonstop to Guam. But for the people living and working on these remote atolls, the United Island Hopper represents their primary connection to the outside world. It is one of the last true “milk run” flights operating in the world

read the entire article here

New Delta Airlines Pacific route (Seattle – Hong Kong)


Fancy emulating some new wide body US airline long-haul flights across the Pacific? Well you might consider a few legs in and out of Hong Kong now that Delta have established a new route pair right across the ocean from Seattle to Hong Kong…

Hong Kong is merely the latest. The Chinese hub is the ninth international destination in the carrier’s burgeoning Emerald City crown, and the last in its most recent expansion drive abroad. In the past year Delta has added service to London, Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo-Haneda. The four come in addition to previously existing service to Amsterdam, Beijing, Paris, and Tokyo-Narita. In total, the expansion has resulted in the carrier injecting well over 2,500 international seats per day into the city.

see the original article at


Boeing puts 787-9 Brakes to the Test

Very interesting video here direct from Boeing as they complete the Brake testing of the new 787-900. Amazing to see how far they push things, you expect this given the obvious safety implications of something going wrong with the braking system, but wow they really do test things to the limit. Wasn’t aware that the tires had an auto-deflate mechanism built in during over-temp conditions, you see a demo of this near the end of the video.